You could call me an alcoholic in that I have drunk nearly every day for ten years. I am 34 years old. I am thin and healthy looking. Because I’m asking in part for medical advice I want to be very specific about the amount I drink.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (36 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Generally I drink 500ml cans of beer. I do drink other things, but if you were to only count my consumption of these other things I would have drunk much less than the average person.
I started in 1998 drinking four 500ml cans of beer at 5% vol = 100ml of alcohol daily.
By around 2003 I was having eight 500ml cans of beer at 5% vol = 200ml of alcohol.
Nowadays I’ve cut down a little bit and drink weaker beer. Six to seven 500ml cans of beer at 4% vol = 120-140ml of alcohol daily.
I only really act like an alcoholic when I’m on my own, in my own home. When I go out, sure I might drink, when others around me are too, but I can have two-three drinks and stop. Sometimes I’ll have no drinks. To be honest, if I go to a party, have two or three drinks, and then come back to my own home, alone, then I will probably have another two or three drinks before bed. Still, if I’m at someone else’s place, if I am not alone, then there’s a good chance I won’t have anything to drink.
I drink because I get bored on my own and I worry about not being able to sleep. It’s kind of ridiculous. I don’t really feel so dependent on alchol or anything, more like someone who just sat around watching TV for a while – I just fell into a bad habit. Nobody knows I do it. I’m never late for work or hungover or anything. I don’t actually get drunk on this amount. By the end of the night I can walk in a straight line, and chat to people on the phone without them realising I was drunk. I have a girlfriend and she doesn’t know about it. I see her three or four times a week: a third of the time we don’t drink; a third of the time we’ll have one or two drinks; the remaining third we’ll share a bottle of wine, maybe more. So I do get a day off drinking quite often. Or, rather, I did, because I haven’t been seeing my girlfriend so often in the last couple of months, which has led to my drinking being truly daily, which is why I’m writing this and wanting to change.
Anyway, my plan was to just stop drinking at home, alone EVER. And carry on drinking like a normal person when I’m in company. I know some people will think this is not possible, but I think it’s the best thing for me to try right now, and I’d be smart enough to realise it wasn’t working if it wasn’t working. Then I might get a new plan.
So I didn’t bother drinking last night and I wasn’t going to bother drinking tonight. Then I read this post: http://ask.metafilter.com/42895/how-to-help-an-alcoholic-stop-drinking, in which suddenly stopping drinking is made out to be quite dangerous.
But the guy in that question seemed to be drinking at least double what I am. And, as I say, I’ve gone whole days without drinking quite frequently in the last year or so, including yesterday. I’m not sure if I’ve gone two days in a row, but certainly I’ll have done a day without, then a day with only one or two drinks before going back to normal.
Anyway, I hope that’s enough background info for this anonymous question. Now onto the actual questions. I am ideally looking for people who have some knowledge of alcohol abuse & how it is perfectly possible to live a relatively normal life in conjunction with it.
1. I drink a lot, I know, and have done for a long time. But do I drink a lot compared to people who drink a lot? I’m thinking not – I feel closer to the bottle-of-wine-a-day guy than the bottle-of-whisky. I’m sort of a lightweight, yeah, for a booze-fiend? But how fucked are my health in general and liver likely to be right now and in the long term?
2. How safe is it for me to stop drinking? In the other thread, the poster was warned:
The first 2 days should see you through the worst of it. Expect to be on edge, nervous, agitated, sweating, maybe headaches or visual disturbances (double vision and the like), perhaps sneezing and skin crawling/itching/disturbed sensation. Perhaps the more intrusive symptoms will be your thinking -- difficult in concentration, short tempered, a depressed and/or swinging mood and self doubts. [I hope you're seeing why having someone around will likely make all of this just a tad easier, if only to take your mind off yourself].
As I say, I’ve gone nearly two days without booze plenty of times. I’m on around 30 hours now. I don’t get any of these symptoms ever. I feel totally normal without the drink. Can’t I just go ahead and stop without telling anyone? Because I’m really not going to tell anyone, and if I can’t just stop on my own I’ll just have to cut down gradually, which would actually be much harder.
I might actually just start drinking two drinks a day until this question appears. I have a doctor’s appointment next week too, so don’t worry about me relying solely on the internet for advice. (The appointment is because I want to start doing some sports. I gave up smoking two weeks ago, now I’m gonna give up the booze, and I just wanna make sure I won’t have a heart attack or something.)